Proposals to activate streets around the Broad Marsh area have taken a step forward with a decision to remove restrictions to allow trading to take place.

The City Council is looking to establish areas in the revitalised streets around Broad Marsh where businesses could set up to give a flavour of what to expect once the area is redeveloped. The move would allow pop-up businesses to set up shop on a number of streets including Sussex Street near the new Nottingham College building, Collin Street opposite the new Central Library and Listergate near the soon-to-be-developed Green Heart space, with a view to potentially staying in the area long-term.

This early activation of the site aims to drive footfall to parts of the site which have been underused and overlooked but have now benefited from extensive regeneration. This will further enhance the gateway into the city centre, by giving the million people who pass though the area each year reasons to stay rather than simply walk through. This includes visitors to the city coming from the train station, tram system and new Broad Marsh bus station and car park, along with thousands of students at the new Nottingham College.

This approach would give early adopters the opportunity to experiment with their offer and test how it might be incorporated into the site in the longer-term. It could involve independent traders, food and drink outlets, entertainment including seasonal events and opportunities for local producers, suppliers and artists to showcase themselves. It follows a soft market testing exercise carried out by the council which will help stablish what is needed to make the sites commercially viable.

A meeting of the council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee today (June 9) approved Collin Street, Sussex Street and several other sites around Broad Marsh being redesignated from prohibited to consent streets, meaning trading can take place. This decision will be open to consultation before returning to the committee. If approved, the new designation could be implemented in December.

The move comes as the area continues to be redeveloped. The new Central Library is due to open and work on the Green Heart area is set to start later this year. Public realm improvements like those already carried out on Carrington Street and Sussex Street will also get underway on Collin Street, connecting the new library and new college via amphitheatre-style steps and offering a fresh new gateway to the city via the Green Heart area and Listergate.

City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “We’ve made fantastic progress on our plans to completely change the look and feel of this part of the city. Streets that were once filled with traffic are now pleasant places to be, students are enjoying the new college, and the new bus station and car park are up and running in a modern building where the new central library will open later this year.

“Work on the Green Heart and Collin Street improvements will also get underway this year – but we know that it will be some years before the vision for the whole site will be fully realised. We believe there is a very exciting opportunity to use parts of the site in the short and medium term for a variety of activities, as part of the first phase of the ongoing transformation of the area. We’d like to hear people’s views on this and hope that if there is general agreement, we can move this forward before the end of the year.”